Menu Check out your Irish Roots and get help with your genealogy research

Irish Surname - Healy

The surname Healy in Ireland is derived from two separate clans who adopted the English surname of "Healy", these were the Ó hÉilidhe clan from Connaught and the Ó hÉalaighthe clan from Munster. These Gaelic words mean 'claimant' and 'ingenious' respectively.

The Ó hÉilidhe sept were located in southeast County Sligo, on the shores of Lough Arrow, while the Ó hÉalaighthe were based in Muskerry in County Cork, where they retained considerable power and wealth up to the 17th century.

The Healy surname is quite common in Ireland today and the significant concentrations can still be found in the original homelands in Sligo and Cork.

Famous People

In recent Irish history Mayo man John Healy was a journalist with The Irish Times newspaper, writing the Backbencher column in the 1960s and 1970s. John was a passionate defender of the rural way of life in Ireland. He was also the author of two famous books, 'No One Shouted Stop' (The Death of an Irish Town), and 'Nineteen Acres'. 'No One Shouted Stop' chronicled the economic and social decline of rural life in the west of Ireland in a time of widespread poverty and mass emigration; 'Nineteen Acres' was an account of the history and lifestyle of his own family, who were small farmers.

Franciscan Bishop, Patrick O'Healy, was one of the last bishops of Mayo before it was united to Tuam. In 1579 he was captured by the British in Limerick on his way to Mayo and martyred for the faith.

James Healy (1830-1900), was the first African-American Roman Catholic bishop in the United States, his father, Michael Healy, being an Irish immigrant and his mother an African American former slave.

Alternate Surname Spellings

Haly, Haley, Haily, Healey, Hely, O'Healey, O'Haly

Researching Irish Surnames

We have researched many sources for the origins of Irish surnames and extracted a fair representation of the origins of each. As there are many variations we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection.

Ireland Roots Message Board

Leave a message on our Facebook page if you're researching this surname